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Letters to the Editor 2/3

Hussein should not receive any trust

This letter is regarded to Joe Roma’s column “Gas-guzzling cars should be declared responsible for war.”

Roma needs to wake up and realize that Saddam Hussein is no Baby Doc Duvalier or Manuel Noriega. Noriega was arrested and indicted for racketeering, drug trafficking and money laundering. Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who repressed and subdued his people. Hussein murdered his political opponents, encouraged his security personnel to routinely rape women and submitted other ethnic groups and religions to various means of torture such as eye gouging, electric shock and piercing hands with electric drills.

Secondly, in accepting the terms of the 1991 Gulf War ceasefire, Iraq’s leaders agreed to “destroy or render harmless” all weapons(s) of mass destruction. Iraq’s continued refusal to allow UN weapons inspections has made it a challenge to know what weapon Saddam Hussein has at his disposal. Iraq is believed to have rebuilt key parts of its chemical production facilities in the wake of the Gulf War.

Defense experts noted that Iraq is known to have developed and stockpiled a supply of 790 tons of the colorless, odorless gas Serin, which is lethal in doses of 0.5 milligrams. Experts also disposed of 38,500 chemical weapons, including shells, warheads, and bombs, 690 tons of chemical weapons and 426 pieces of chemical equipment. This discovery came after seven years of Iraqi denials of its possession of chemical weapons. So can we really trust Hussein when he claimed that Iraq possesses no weapons of mass destruction?

Lastly, just so Roma knows, the United States produced 41 percent of its oil consumed with 9 percent imported from Canada, and only 4 percent of the oil imported from Iraq. Maybe Joe should do his homework the next time he decides to share his opinion.

Thuy Nguyen is a junior majoring in interdisciplinary natural science.

Peace protest report is not very accurate

I am writing in response to Vanessa Garnica’s report in the Tuesday Oracle regarding the “big” peace protest in Washington Jan. 18. The numbers that she reports from The Washington Post say 80,000 to 500,000. That’s a pretty big range, indicating quite a bit of uncertainty. Other estimates cited in other papers were about 20,000 to 50,000.

Since I was there on the mall myself that day, I am inclined to believe that the 20,000 number would be a lot closer (although still possibly inflated). Contrary to reports in the Oracle and other papers, the “crowd” did not stretch from the Capitol to the Washington Monument.

Again, I was there, I saw it. The “crowd” did not even reach the National Air and Space Museum (about 1/3 of the way up the mall from the Capitol to the Washington Monument). I was touring the Air and Space Museum with my family and if there were people stacked “wall to wall” between the Capitol and the Washington Monument as reported, most of them were disguised as an empty field of grass.

One final note on the “big” protest: the Socialist Workers Union and the other groups that took part in the protest are certainly anti-war, but based on all of the trash that they left behind at the end, they seem to be anti-environment as well.

Larry Hagen is a program director in the Center for Urban Transportation Research.

United States has valid reason for war

I’d like to respond to Tuesday’s editorial, “United States should give up on Iraq.” Since the Gulf War, massive amounts of evidence point to Iraq’s development of biological and chemical weapons. In fact, the United States military began a series of Anthrax vaccines in the late 1990s (yours truly received four shots) based on such information. During Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address, President Bush outlined a few of these weapons, which include, but are not limited to, large quantities of Anthrax, VX, Sarin, Mustard and Botulinum.

His numbers came from multiple sources, including U.S. intelligence, the United Nations and Iraqi defectors. I would like to point out that none of these materials were included in Iraq’s 12,200-page declaration. Also not included in Iraq’s declaration were 16 munitions discovered by U.N. weapons inspectors earlier this month. Iraq has been known to fill these warheads with Sarin gas.

The article mentioned that the International Atomic Energy Agency had no evidence of a revived nuclear weapons program in Iraq. The point is not revival; it is the disarmament of existing weapons. The IAEA reported in the 1990s that Iraq had a design for a nuclear bomb and was researching five ways to enrich Uranium. Additionally, British Intelligence reports that Iraq recently attempted to buy Uranium from Africa.

It is horrific when one realizes that some of Saddam’s best buddies are international terrorists — some are even members of al-Qaeda. Remember them? They’re the ones who killed 2,998 people on Sept. 11, 2001. I doubt they’ll hesitate one second when presented with the opportunity to attack our vulnerabilities again, and maybe next time, it will be with Iraq’s weapons.

If The Oracle and the American people truly believe we should give up on Iraq, maybe we should consider what exactly we’d be giving up. As President George W. Bush said on Tuesday, “A future lived at the mercy of terrible threats is no peace at all.”

Elizabeth Hail is a sophomore majoring in chemistry.